One of the most common questions I get asked from clients is: ‘’Are your English teachers native speakers?’’
One of the most common complaints I get from non-native English teachers when they’re applying for jobs is: I've been looking for a teaching opportunity for one/two/three years and I'm fed up of the phrase: "Native speakers only".
With over 1 billion people learning English all over the world, this is a discussion topic that is likely to figure in the decision-making processes of employers everywhere. Is it true your staff are being short-changed if the teacher isn’t a native speaker, which steadfastly remains the view of many parents, institutions and companies? Perhaps that was the case 15 years ago.
To begin, let’s list some of the core reasons why people believe they prefer native speakers:
Teachers’ qualifications are routinely overlooked, especially online. Contrary to the policies of some of the best-known English-teaching companies, worldwide: just speaking English doesn't make a teacher qualified! The industry has ballooned in the Far East and China where there are swathes of unqualified teachers. Native or non-native, unqualified is unqualified! The effects of poor quality teaching manifest themselves in fossilised errors in learners - something that is very difficult to reverse, especially with younger people. Teachers need to be judged on their qualifications and experience and be rewarded accordingly.
Tangent Training Co. Ltd, my organisation, is currently working with English teachers for whom Russian is their native language, as part of our new partnership with Intesol Russia. We recognise that there are far more non-native English teachers in the market and we work with them to develop their skills so that our clients find no distinction between 'them and us'. We offer high-level webinars and tutorials for teachers that encourage them that being a non-native teacher is not inferior.
In 11 years and 7 countries, I’ve taught with excellent teachers....and many awful ones! The native-non-native distinction has been irrelevant. I've witnessed horrendous instruction-giving, terrible modelling, pronunciation and classroom management from many a native as well as non-native. The distinction between the two is fast-becoming a lazy method of recruitment; an easy box to tick. When requesting 'only natives' in advertisements, many schools have little understanding why they do it.
So perhaps it’s time to shake-off these labels for good. My message to employers is to refrain from stipulating native/non-native teachers in your advertisements. Consider the person, their qualifications and experience and then award the job purely on merit.
Neil Rodrigues CEO,
Tangent Training Co Ltd
Register as a teacher with Tangent Training and:
Audacity: http://www.audacityteam.org/ Otterwave: http://www.148apps.com/app/540959652/
“At Tangent Training, we provide LIVE online classes and e-Learning resources delivered anytime, anywhere and on any device using customised materials to meet the specific training needs of our clients.” About Us